Secretary of State Antony cautioned Africa about China’s role in the continent in virtual talks with Nigeria and Kenya on Tuesday. Responding to questions, Blinken said he hoped African countries would keep their “eyes wide open” when approaching relationships with other nations.
“We’re not asking anyone to choose between the United States or China, but I would encourage you to ask those tough questions, to dig beneath the surface, to demand transparency, and to make informed choices about what is best for you and your countries,” he said.
Beijing is involved in infrastructure projects across Africa, which the US views as a threat to American influence. President Biden has floated the idea of the US and its allies starting a global infrastructure project to rival China’s, which is known as the Belt and Road Initiative.
“You should be looking hard at whether when other countries come in to build a big infrastructure project, are they bringing their own workers with them or are they giving jobs to people in the country where they’re making investments?” Blinken posed.
Biden has portrayed the US-China relationship as an ideological battle between “democracy” and “autocracy.” With this view in mind, it’s no wonder the US aims to compete with China in every theater it can.
China is also being used to justify domestic infrastructure projects. President Biden cited the need to compete with Beijing as the reason to pass his massive $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.